Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been at conflict over the allocation of Cauvery River water since the British colonial period. Pro-Kannada and farmers’ associations have called for a ‘Karnataka Bandh’ on Tuesday (September 26th) and Friday (September 29th) to protest the flow of Cauvery River water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Following the bandh, the authorities in Bengaluru proclaimed the day a holiday in all educational institutions in the city and imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure across the whole state, particularly in Bengaluru.
The bandh, which began at 6 a.m., featured heated rallies and sloganeering by pro-Kannada organizations in several locations. The authorities have taken strict efforts to contain the situation, which has resulted in the captivity of demonstrators from various organizations around the state.
Karnataka’s Political Turn on the bandh
The Karnataka CM, Siddaramaiah along with his deputy DK Shivakumar, held a meeting with few retired judges of the Supreme Court and former advocate generals over the water-sharing issue. He emphasised the government’s commitment to defending the state’s interests, ensuring that only minor interruptions occurred throughout the peaceful bandh, with transportation and businesses working normally in numerous regions.
He also said that they have submitted all of their facts and try to question the issue in the Supreme Court. He stated that after the meeting, he’ll release a statement deciding what to do next to resolve the issue.These protests come in the eye of the Supreme Court’s decision to avoid tampering with the commands issued by the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC). These committees instructed the southern state to carry out the water release. Karnataka’s Deputy Chief Minister, D K Shivakumar, expressed his belief that a bandh concerning the Cauvery River dispute was unnecessary, given the state government’s commitment to safeguarding its interests. Deputy Chief Minister also underlined the government’s position on the legality of the bandh, emphasising the lack of judicial approval for such protests.
The DMK leader, TKS Elangovan said that the protests that are happening in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu against the release of Cauvery water in Tamil Nadu is “just political” and that the river is not Karnataka’s property. He further alleged that the state government is doing everything just for politics and that the river water should be given to every state, especially to those which are located further away from the banks of the river.
Effects of the bandh
Banks, hospitals, pharmacies, and government offices are open and operating normally, providing citizens with critical services. A total of 44 cancellations of flights have been reported by the authorities from the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru. This caused major inconvenience and chaos among the public. More than 2,000 groups have backed the dawn-to-dusk Karnataka bandh, despite police in Bengaluru warning that the action is unlawful and unconstitutional.
To maintain law and order and to handle the situation better, the state police are being cautious and deploying additional forces all across Karnataka.